Q. So you’ve set your weight loss goals and you’re ready to get to work. What do you do now?
A. Keep your goal in the forefront of your mind in all you do?
B. Visualise yourself getting closer to that goal every day?
C. Make reaching your goal the most important thing in your life right now?
D. Put all your energy into making your goal a reality?
Take a minute to think about your answer. We’ll wait.
Okay. If you answered A, B, C or D — you’re not exactly wrong but not exactly right either.
You see only focusing on the destination slows results for a lot of people. The answer to losing weight fast is focusing on the journey.
This might sound cliché, but it’s the only way if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
Treat weight loss like a road trip
We have used this analogy before, but weight loss is like going on a road trip.
One of the first things you do is to work out where you want to go — your goal.
Then you work out WHY you want to go there. Very few people just get in a car and go for a long drive for the sake of it. If you don’t have a clear reason for embarking on a road trip (e.g. a holiday), then you’ll turn back when obstacles arise, and everything gets too hard.
After that, you usually tell someone where you’re going. This might be because you’re excited to embark on your journey. But you might also let people know in case you run into trouble on the way, and they can provide assistance if you need it.
Before you leave, you pack your car with all the things you’ll need for the journey. You make sure you have food for the drive, a first aid kit, and a full tank of fuel. You might even make a playlist to make the drive more enjoyable. You talk to your family and ask them if there’s anything they’d like to see along the way. You consult a map and work out what towns you need to pass through and where you’ll stop for a break. In your mind, you know the key milestones you have to aim for in order to reach your destination.
The day arrives when you set off on your trip. You get in the car and what do you do?
You set the GPS for the first milestone on your journey — not the end destination.
But what would happen if you only focused on the destination?
Focusing on the destination
Using the analogy above, focusing purely on the destination wouldn’t make the trip much fun or successful at all. You’d be so focused on getting to your destination, that you’d miss all the sights along the way. Just pointing the car in the direction you want to go, without consulting the map means you’d probably miss key milestones and checkpoints along the way as well. You may even make a wrong turn or two, meaning you’d have to double back and waste time. By the time you reached your destination (if you managed to at all), you’d be tired, grumpy, exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed.
Imagine setting out without telling anyone where you’re going. What if something happened to you? Who would be there to help? And how enjoyable would it be, to just sit behind the wheel, only thinking about the end destination, not taking a break or doing anything enjoyable, for hours, perhaps even days?
Sounds ridiculous, right? But this is the approach that most people take with their weight loss journeys. They set their goal and push and strive and force it to happen. But what they don’t realise is that without the journey, they’ll never reach their goal.
What happens when you only focus on your goal
You won’t change your habits
Focusing purely on the end result means you won’t have room to change your habits. It’s not overeating and under-exercising that has got you in the situation you’re in. It’s your habits. Unless you address these and change them to habits that will support long-term weight loss, you’ll never lose weight and keep it off. Instead, your habits will continue to govern you, and you’ll always struggle with your weight.
You won’t face your fears
Most people are unaware that fear holds them back from weight loss. So instead, they just set a goal and go for it, only doing the things that are in their comfort zone. However, this approach only makes it harder to lose weight. When you live in fear, you’ll focus on the negatives, avoid doing new things, avoid making decisions, and avoid taking action! You can set all the weight loss goals you like, but until you confront what you’re afraid of (and for most people, it’s being seen and being judged), you won’t reach your weight loss goals. When you focus on the journey, you become aware of the fears you have, and how this fear impacts your weight. With this awareness comes the power to change your situation, so you can start to overcome fear and lose weight for good.
You won’t learn the lessons
In order to lose weight, you need to transform you mind first. This is why we call our program a ‘Transformation’ program. To truly transform, you need to learn many lessons. But if your eyes are only fixed to what lies ahead, you’ll miss these lessons — the vital steps required to take you to the next step in the journey. This is a bit like not consulting the map on the road trip. Instead of making progress towards your destination, you’ll find yourself going around in circles, getting lost and needing to retrace your steps in order to get back on track. This creates feelings of stress and overwhelm, and is one of the key reasons why people give up. Not taking time to learn valuable lessons is the reason weight loss takes so long for a lot of people, and why most people never make their goals a reality. . However, focusing on the journey enables you to become more aware of the lessons you need to learn, and how you can start implementing these lessons to change your life.
You won’t take action
At the end of the day, the only thing that will get you where you want to be is action. In the case of transforming your body shape and losing weight, you need to do the right amount of exercise, fuel your body with the correct nutritional choices, reduce stress, and factor in plenty of time for rest and recovery. The irony is that when you obsess over reaching your goal, you’ll end up taking the wrong actions — dieting, over-exercising on signing up for a ‘quick-fix’ — in a bid to get to your goal faster. But in reality, this just makes the process harder and longer. Quick-fixes never fix anything. In fact, they compromise your metabolism so much, that losing weight becomes increasingly difficult.
You won’t record data
When you focus on your end goal, you tend to be blinded to everything else. In your quest to get to your destination, you believe that you can’t afford to be distracted by anything that does not involve reaching your goal. In the case of the road trip, that means checking on the engine temperature, when the next turn is, how full your fuel tank is, and whether you’re still on the right route — all important forms of data that you need to reach your goal. A successful weight loss journey also requires you to record data about what you’ve been doing, what works and what doesn’t work. If you don’t record data, how do you know if you’re even headed in the right direction?
You won’t enjoy the journey
Using our road trip example, how enjoyable is the journey if you’re stuck behind the wheel, teeth gritted, never taking time to enjoy the ride? How much harder is it to keep driving to your destination, if you’re miserable, angry and resentful along the way? How hard is it for the rest of your family who are along for the ride? Your weight loss journey is the same. You need to have room to enjoy life. You need to drop the perfectionist habit, and make room and time for some of your favourite foods — just not all the time. You need to make time to spend with friends and family. When you enjoy the journey, you’re more likely to stick with the program. If your weight loss program becomes a drag, then you’re only going to give up along the way.
You won’t reach your goal
The irony about focusing only on your goal, instead of the journey is that you won’t get there at all. You’ll miss all the vital steps, learnings and milestones that you need in order to navigate your way to your goal. You’ll end up going down the wrong path, not knowing how you got there, or how to get back on track. You’ll end up getting stuck in a diet mindset, and following a program that is unrealistic, unsustainable and not designed to get you results.
So how do you reach your weight loss goals?
You need to focus on the journey
As boring or as counter-productive as it sounds the best way to lose weight fast is to focus on the journey, instead of your goal. Every day, you need to ask yourself, “What can I do today to get me closer to where I want to be”. Then, you do what you need to do for that day, and let it go. That’s all you need to do.
Striving, forcing or trying to do more to get there faster will backfire and cause you to feel burned out and overwhelmed.
Focusing on the journey will allow you to change the habits that have got you to where you are now.
Focusing on the journey means you’ll take the daily actions required for you to reach your goal.
Focusing on the journey means you won’t be overwhelmed and stressed.
Focusing on the journey means you’ll be able to pinpoint the things that aren’t working for you, and what is working, which means you’ll reach your goal faster.
Focusing on the journey means you won’t feel you have to do everything perfectly, or all at once.
Focusing on the journey means you’ll never be stuck and you’ll never go backwards.
Focusing on the journey means you’ll enjoy life along the way, and learn the lessons you need to learn, in order for your weight loss to be permanent.
Focusing on the journey means that the results will take care of themselves, because if you do the things you need to do, and address the habits you need to address, how can results not follow?
However, the only way you’ll be able to focus on the journey and not be tempted to focus on your goal is to work with a coach who knows the steps that you need to take to get to your goal. They understand that the journey is more important than the goal itself. They will give you structure and accountability which will enable you to work on your habits, transform your mindset, and do the actions that will lead you to your goal, instead of the actions that you think will take you there